Odisha signs Australian defensive midfielder Osama Malik

Osama Malik in a Melbourne City jersey

Odisha has signed Australian defensive stalwart Osama Malik as their second overseas signing ahead of the 2022-23 Indian Super League season.

The defensive-minded player is delighted with the move and is looking forward to reuniting with his former manager Josep Gambau at Odisha.

He said,

“I am so excited to re-join Josep Gambau at Odisha. I can’t wait to meet all the fans and my new teammates and looking forward to a successful season. Let’s go!”

After starting his career with West Adelaide, Adelaide Raiders, Adelaide United, and Adelaide Galaxy, Malik stamped himself as a first-team regular with North Queensland Fury making 23 appearances in a span of 18 months.

The Adelaide-born player was glad to return to United and had a five-year spell at the club making 92 appearances in total during his stay before moving to Melbourne City.

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At Melbourne City, Malik made 60 appearances for the club before moving to the Saudi Professional League club Al-Batin where he only made 8 appearances before moving back to the A-League with Perth Glory. At Glory, Malik made 37 appearances but was used as a bit-part player in his last season thus forcing him to think of a move for regular playing time.

Gambau spoke highly of Malik’s experience of playing more than 200 matches in Asian football and is looking ahead to reuniting with his former charge from Adelaide United.

He said,

“First of all I would like to welcome Osama to the club and I am so happy to have him here.. He is a player who has a lot of experience in Asia. Osama has 200 games under his belt when he was at Adelaide and he is a player that I know very well.”

The 46-year old also talked about his new acquisition’s versatility at the back and wished him luck ahead of the crucial season for Odisha. Malik is a defensive midfielder by trade but has also played as a central defender for a big part of his career while he has also turned out as a right-back at times.

The Spaniard concluded,

“I know what Osama brings to the table. He is a player who can play multiple positions as a central defender and as a No. 6 and I am really happy that we secured his signature. I wish him a very successful season at Odisha FC and the best for the upcoming season.”

The Juggernauts appointed Gambau as the new head coach and signed Carlos Delgado before signing Malik to strengthen their squad and especially the defensive positions. It would be interesting to witness how the Odisha squad shapes up ahead of the new ISL season.